Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement

Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS Template) delivered in Microsoft Word format for easy editing.

Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement

Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)

Whether you need to get on site to start work, looking to create a safe work environment or pitching that next Government Tender, the Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement is easy to customise, easy to use and easily integrates into your current Safety Management System (if you have one! If not, we need to talk, seriously. Don't take that sort of risk - we can help).

Look, we understand the challenges that many business owners face, let alone having to understand complicated safety documentation written in a language that nobody understands. That's why every Safe Work Method Statement Template is written in an easy to understand format, while at the same time being some of the highest quality in the industry. Our SWMS documents get you on site, save you loads of time and are easy to use. This way, you can get on with doing what you do best.


The Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) covers the following Job Steps, including potential hazards, control measures and risk ratings:

  1. Planning and preparation
  2. Training and capabilities
  3. Assess onsite conditions
  4. Set up work area
  5. Temporary Traffic Control (TMP)
  6. Delivery of materials and equipment
  7. General precautions
  8. Barriers and signage
  9. Long duration workplaces
  10. Short duration and mobile workplaces
  11. High-risk work areas
  12. Clean up and return to service of work areas
  13. On completion

The Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement Includes


Risk Assessment Matrix | Hierarchy of Controls | PPE | Emergency Response

Your Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is ready to be used in three easy steps:

  1. Add your company logo and details to the SWMS Template.
  2. Identify site specific risks.
  3. Address any site specific risks and add them to your SWMS Template.

Your SWMS is now read to use, and may also be used as training materials for work related activities such as Workplace Inductions or WHS-OHS Toolbox Meeting Talks.

Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement

  • Detailed and pre-filled Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement.
  • Instant Delivery.
  • Fully editable Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) Template.
  • Easy to customise - instructions included.
  • Referenced to AS/NZS (Standards) and Legislation. 
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View a Safe Work Method Statement Example

See an example of a Safe Work Method Statement Template below. All our SWMS Template documents are comprehensive in nature, easy to use, and are a huge time saver. Our Safe Work Method Statement Templates are quick and easy to customise to your specific business or operation and are perfectly suited for every day use, for larger contracts and tenders right through to qualifying for contractor management platforms such as CM3.

What is a Safe Work Method Statement?

A SWMS is a document that outlines the high-risk construction work activities that will be performed at a workplace, the hazards that will be present as a result of these activities, and the controls that will be implemented to mitigate the risks.

A single SWMS can be utilised for numerous high-risk construction work activities, such as employing powered mobile plant, working at heights of more than 2 metres, and working near to a road that is used by traffic other than pedestrians.

A SWMS is an administrative control that is used to support higher-order controls, such as engineering controls, that are designed to remove or reduce hazards to health and safety.

A SWMS differs from other documentation such as a Job Safety Analysis or a Safe Operating Procedure in that it focuses on specific jobs or processes. A SWMS isn't meant to be a procedure; rather, it's a tool for supervisors and workers to check and monitor the workplace control measures. For high-risk work activities, a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking)  must prepare a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) or check that one has been prepared before starting work. It is important to note that before any work process has started, a SWMS must be prepared.

A PCBU, on the other hand, also must manage health and safety hazards by eliminating or reducing them as much as possible. Before beginning any work on a project, the principal contractor must also obtain a copy of the SWMS.

What information does a Safe Work Method Statement need to contain?

A Safe Work Method Statement should identify high-risk work and any specify hazards related to high-risk construction work as well as any health and safety risks. The SWMS should describe the risk-control measures to be implemented, monitored, and reviewed and also should describe how the risk-control measures will be effective at reducing or eliminating the risk, and how they will be implemented, monitored, and reviewed.

A Safe Work Method Statement should be concise and focus on outlining the specific risks identified for the high-risk work to be performed, as well as the control measures to be implemented to ensure that the work is completed safely.

A long and overly complex Safe Work Method Statement which could be difficult to comprehend, implement and monitor or review may be confusing for workers to mentally digest and therefore is not ideal in helping to reduce or eliminate risks in the workplace. It is imperative that workers, and especially those who do not speak English, are able to understand the Safe Work Method Statement. Consider having pictures or diagrams added to the SWMS as a more effective way of presenting information contained within the SWMS.

The SWMS should also contain other regulatory requirements to protect health and safety of all personnel, such as controlling noise exposure and manual job risks. Also, keep in mind that evidence of a completed risk assessment may be required by the regulator or for auditing reasons if the Safe Work Method Statement is based on a workplace-specific risk assessment.

Who's Responsible for creating the Safe Work Method Statement?

In collaboration with workers who will be directly engaged in the activity, the person responsible for carrying out the work is usually best equipped to prepare the SWMS document. In most cases, this means that a Safe Work Method Statement is created by the builder for his or her employees, or by the subcontractor for their employees.

To establish who is in the best position to prepare the Safe Work Method Statement, the principle contractor, builder, and/or subcontractors should decide who will take responsibility for the SWMS.

It's also a requirement that all managers, contractors, supervisors, and workers be involved in the creation of a Safe Work Method Statement. Workers must be consulted so that they understand the SWMS in depth and what they must do to establish and maintain risks and implement control measures to manage the risk. Sharing information and utilising workers' knowledge and experience may also aid in ensuring that the task is completed in accordance with the SWMS.

If your workplace has a Health and Safety Representative, they should also be contacted while creating a Safe Work Method Statement.

What does the principal contractor's responsibility entail?

Before beginning work, a principal contractor must take all reasonable steps to obtain a SWMS from any contractor performing high-risk work. If no SWMS exists, the principal contractor must arrange for one to be created, for example by the contractor or subcontractor.

A general contractor should establish plans to ensure that high-risk work is carried out safely and in compliance with the Safe Work Method Statement. This can be done by keeping an eye on how the SWMS is being implemented on the ground.

The principal contractors' WHS management plan must also include detailed arrangements for collecting, assessing, monitoring, and reviewing the SWMS, according to the WHS Regulations.

How to Write a Safe Work Method Statement

If you're looking to write your own Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement, the first step is to create the document as a Safe Work Method Statement Template. This way, you can use the same SWMS Template and then adjust the document for each different working in public areas project as needed, making sure that your Working In Public Areas SWMS Template addresses any site specific risks.

The fastest and most cost effective solution would be to purchase a Bluesafe Working In Public Areas SWMS Template. However, if you decide to take the route of writing your own working in public areas SWMS.

There are some fundamental requirements and information which you may want to consider adding to your Working In Public Areas SWMS such as:

  • Details of the person(s) responsible for making sure implementation, monitoring and compliance of the Working In Public Areas SWMS as well as any reviews and modifications.
  • Any information detailing safety meetings or toolbox talks in relation to working in public areas work, scheduled in accordance with legislative requirements to first identify any site hazards where the working in public areas work is being conducted, secondly, communicate the risks and hazards and then take steps to eliminate or control each hazard in relation to the working in public areas work being done.
  • Any changes added to the Working In Public Areas SWMS after an incident or a near miss. 

Note: The Working In Public Areas SWMS must be kept and be available for inspection at least until the working in public areas work is completed. Where the Working In Public Areas SWMS is revised, all versions of the SWMS Template should be kept. If a notifiable incident occurs in relation to the Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement, the Working In Public Areas SWMS must be kept for a minimum of two years from the date of the incident.

 Your Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement Template should list any high risk construction work, such as:

  • Does the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS involve a risk of a person falling more than 2 meters?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out on or near pressurised gas mains or piping?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out on a telecommunication tower?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines?
  • Does the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS involve demolition of an element of a structure that is load-bearing?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out on or near energised electrical installations or services?
  • Does the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS involve demolition of an element related to the physical integrity of a structure?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out in an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere?
  • Does the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS involve, or is likely to involve, disturbing asbestos?
  • Does the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS involve tilt-up or precast concrete?
  • Does the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS involve structural alteration or repair that requires temporary support to prevent collapse?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out on, in or adjacent to a road, railway, shipping lane or other traffic corridor?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out in or near a confined space?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out in an area of a workplace where there is any movement of powered mobile plant?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out in/near a shaft or trench deeper than 1.5m or tunnel involving use of explosives?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out in areas with artificial extremes of temperature?
  • Is the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS carried out in or near water or other liquid that involves a risk of drowning?
  • Does the working in public areas work outlined in the Working In Public Areas SWMS involve diving work? 

Your Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement should also identify any high-risk machinery or equipment in operation near the work site, such as:

  • Forklift
  • Crane
  • Hoist
  • Working In Public Areas
  • Backhoe
  • Loader
  • Boom Lift
  • Elevated Work Platform (EWP)
  • Genie Lift
  • Trencher
  • Drilling Rig
  • Trucks
  • Formwork
  • Bobcat
  • Flammable Gas
  • Fuel
  • Dozer
  • High Voltage
  • Mulcher
  • Tilt-up Panels
  • Roller
  • Scissor Lift
  • Tractor 

Your Working In Public Areas SWMS should also list any Personal Protective Equipment such as:

  • Foot Protection - Boots or closed in shoes
  • Hand Protection - Gloves
  • Head Protection - Hard hat or helmet
  • Hearing Protection - Ear plugs or ear muffs
  • Eye Protection - Safety glasses, goggles or face shields
  • Respiratory Protection - Face masks etc
  • Face Protection - Face shield, welding mask etc
  • High Visual Clothing
  • Protective Clothing - Overalls etc
  • Fall Protection - Safety harness, edge protection etc
  • Sun Protection - Sunscreen, hat etc
  • Hair and Jewellery Secured - Hair Net, etc 

The Working In Public Areas SWMS must be reviewed continually to ensure it remains effective and relevant. The Working In Public Areas SWMS must be reviewed (and revised if necessary) if relevant control measures in relation to working in public areas work are revised. The review process should be carried out in consultation with workers (including contractors and subcontractors) who may be affected by the Working In Public Areas and their health and safety representatives who represented that workgroup at the workplace.

 When the Working In Public Areas SWMS has been revised, the person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure:

  1. All persons involved in the working in public areas work are advised that a revision has been made and how they can access the revised Working In Public Areas SWMS;
  2. Persons who will need to change a work procedure or system as a result of the review are advised of the changes in a way that will enable them to implement their duties consistently with the revised Working In Public Areas SWMS; and,
  3. Workers that will be involved in the working in public areas work are provided with the relevant information and instruction that will assist them to understand and implement the revised Working In Public Areas SWMS.

When preparing your Working In Public Areas SWMS, here are some topics you might want to also include to ensure you have covered as many risks and hazards as possible.

Planning and Preparation When Working With and Around Working In Public Areas.

When writing your Working In Public Areas SWMS, establish any policies, procedures and systems for working with Working In Public Areas in consultation with the Principal Contractor and workers while being sure to establish:

  • Health and Safety guidelines for working in public areas work
  • Emergency plans and evacuation procedures for the Working In Public Areas SWMS
  • Worker inductions for Working In Public Areas
  • Toolbox talks (safety meetings) added to the Working In Public Areas SWMS
  • Outline details of supervision of the site and workers on the Working In Public Areas SWMS
  • Check all workers qualifications, permits and competencies for Working In Public Areas operations
  • Ensure the Working In Public Areas and any related equipment is functioning correctly
  • Hazard reporting procedures in place and added to the Working In Public Areas SWMS
  • Incident reporting procedures in place and added to the Working In Public Areas SWMS
  • Exclusion zones when conducting working in public areas work
  • Risk Assessment for TASK completed and noted on the Working In Public Areas SWMS
  • Electrical NO GO ZONES identified, discussed and documented. 

Assessment of Site Conditions

Thoroughly assess the work site/area conditions when excavating and ensure that:

  1. A risk assessment of the working in public areas work is conducted
  2. Suitable access and adequate space to conduct working in public areas work safely
  3. Consult with all stakeholders on potential hazards and risks when conducting working in public areas work
  4. Consultation with all relevant workers and personnel for Working In Public Areas SWMS details
  5. If conducting Working In Public Areas at night, ensure there is adequate lighting
  6. Check that the work environment is suitable for working in public areas work 

Working In Public Areas Training and Worker Qualifications

Ensure all workers have the appropriate licenses in conducting Working In Public Areas as well as any qualifications that may be required for various working in public areas projects before starting work. If White Cards are required, retain copies of all cards, licenses and qualifications of personnel.

All personnel must:

  1. Be trained and/or have received instructions on the Working In Public Areas SWMS including all safety and emergency procedures.
  2. Be qualified, knowledgeable and competent in Working In Public Areas operations and working in public areas work as well as all delegated tasks/responsibilities
  3. Be fully aware and understand the scope of work in relation to the Working In Public Areas SWMS

Below are some examples of some Control Measures to be implemented when creating your own Working In Public Areas Safe Work Method Statement Template:

  • Before commencement of any work, a risk assessment must be carried out.
  • Unauthorized persons must not be allowed entry into work areas.
  • If practicable, schedule work during periods of low public occupancy or after hours.
  • Make sure to provide a buffer area between the work and public, and provide adequate workspace to allow work to be carried out safely.
  • Suspend hoses, leads, etc., at safe heights and do not allow them to run across traffic paths. If the services, etc. must run unavoidably on floors, use highly visible low profile cable protectors to reduce the risk of tripping.
  • Expected degree of occupancy, hazardous processes and duration and nature of work must be considered.
  • Keep all work equipment and materials within the barriers.
  • Floors outside the work areas must be kept clear and clean at all times.
  • Select the barricading and barriers depending on the nature and duration of the works. Use barriers that are stable and freestanding, and do not have projections or sharp edges that may become a hazard in themselves.
  • Use barriers that do not allow small children or toddlers, etc. from passing through or under them. If high volumes of traffic are encountered, consider the use of mesh infill.
  • Barrier supports should not project into the traffic areas, and must remain within the barricaded area.
  • Make sure the barriers are highly visible.
  • Schedule the delivery of material and removal of waste, etc.to after hours or during low occupancy.
  • If work will generate high levels of noise, it should preferably be carried out after hours.
  • To prevent dust from entering public areas, where large quantities of airborne dust is generated, the work area must be enclosed by a barrier.
  • Minimize the use of chemicals or schedule the work after hours.
  • Use screens to protect areas that produce sparks and welding flash from welding, cutting and grinding. These could affect other persons.Keep screens overlapping to remove all gaps in between.
  • Make sure that delivery and removal have a safe path.
  • When the area is occupied, noisy work must not be carried out.
  • Adjacent floor areas must be kept clean and free of dust.
  • Generation of fumes must be avoided.
  • Hot work must not be carried out without adequate protection for the public.
  • To remove smoke from the area, ventilate it well.
  • Barriers may not be required for short duration maintenance works such as lamp replacements with a ladder, provided a second person is available to make sure that the public does not collide with the ladder, material can be passed to and from the person on the ladder and to ensure the stability of the ladder.
  • Wet floors should preferably be barricaded. To minimize the risk of spillage use buckets with extended base. Make sure the floor is dry before allowing re-entry of public into the area.
  • To minimize the risk of tripping on extension leads, floors may be polished after hours.
  • High visibility garments must be worn at all times by persons working in public areas without any barrier.
  • Temporary Wet Floor easels may be used to define the affected areas.
  • Carefully pre-plan work in limited or heavily populated areas such as amenities, lift lobbies, etc., for ensuring that persons are not placed at risk.
  • A traffic monitor or security guard may be stationed to ensure the safety of public.
  • Use barriers that are free standing and with no external projections.
  • Make sure that the working space available is adequate. If working space is limited, people may be diverted away from the area of working.
  • Polished or hard surfaces must not have dust or liquids on them.
  • Leads must not be allowed to run across floors. Is not possible to suspend, cover with duct tape or use cable covers to secure the leads.
  • To prevent access to open lift wells, use lift well guards.The lift well enclosure openings must be totally covered in both width and height. There must be a minimum depth of 600 mm between lift well wall and guard and a top cover for the full area of the guard. A hinged door must befitted with a night-type latch, which does not require a key to open from the inside, but cannot be opened from the outside without a key.
  • On the fence, place warning signs such as, DANGER ELEVATOR SHAFT Unauthorized Entry Prohibited.
  • Warning notices must be placed in all the cars, informing that work is being carried out in the lift lobby on level x and caution must be exercised when exiting.
  • Depending on the nature of work, the closure may be partial or full.
  • For full closure requirements, place sign at the entrance to prevent entry.
  • For partial closure requirements, a security guard may be present to control the public in the area.
  • Refer 1. General precautions above.
  • All work, materials, tools and equipment must be contained within the barricaded area.
  • Cables, etc. must be suspended.
  • The guards must be fixed securely for preventing dislodgement or entry.
  • Refer to AS 4431 Guidelines for safe working on new lift installations in new buildings.
  • Doors must be 2 m x 1 m, minimum.
  • The barrier must not be lifted until the lift has been returned to service.
  • Develop work method statements and instruct all persons to follow the procedures.
  • Make sure all equipment, plant, tools and material is removed from the area.
  • Make sure there are no trip hazards existing and the floors, etc. are clean and dry.
  • While the barriers are being removed and transported from the work area, make sure a person is available to control the pedestrian traffic.
  • Until all items have been removed, do not remove the barricade from the area.
  • Do not return area to entry of public, until completely safe to do so.

National: View the Model Codes of Practice for Excavation Work on Safe Work Australia's website here.
Victoria: Victoria's Code of Practice for Excavation Work may be viewed on Work Safe Victoria's website here.